Kiro, Soma

    The present paper is based on experience of fieldwork carried by me between the Onge of Andaman and Nicobar Island during the year 1989 as a prudent of M. Sc. Anthropology.

    After the Tsunami stuck on Andaman and Nicobar Island in December, 2004 the media and others started to talk about the tribal of Andaman and Nicobar, otherwise only the scholars and researchers used to talk about the people of A&N Island. For the common Indian the Island of Andaman and Nicobar was popularly known as "KALAPANI" and nothing else. But after Tsunami there are so many news, articles and writing on the Island and the people. As well as everybody started to talk about Andaman and Nicohar and the tribal live in. This enforced me to share my experiences with the tribal of Andaman and Nicobar specially the Onge.

    Andaman and Nicobar Island is also known as the land of aboriginal tribe, which has now, became very popular. The curiosity of knowing the tribes of this Island has come up in the mind of a common Indian also. In A&N there are six tribal groups namely the Andamanese, Jarwas, Nocobaris, Onge, Shompenes and Sentinelese. It is interesting to know that their distribution in A&N Island show a different regional boundary separate for each tribal group. Such as the Andamanese are living in strait Island of Andaman, the Jarwas in middle and south Andaman, Sentinelese in Island, Shompens in great Nicobar and the Nicobaries in Car Nicobar. The Onges are inhabitant in Dugono creek and little Andaman area.

    Onges the primitive groups of Andaman and Nicobar Island belongs to the Negrito racial stock. They are one of the primitive hunters and gathers who still continuing this most primitive mode of subsistence. The Onges are exclusively living in south Bay and Dugong Creek. They live in-group is assigned a fixed territory for hunting and collecting. Their economy completely based on hunting, fishing and collecting. Pig is the main hunt. Other than they hunt the turtle also. Among the Onges the men do the hunting only, for which they used TEMA AND LOA (bow and arrow) and harpoons. Now a day the Onges have started the domestication of dogs, which help them in hunting for tracking of animal.

    The fishing is practiced by both male and female. The male usually goes for fishing in the deep sea, whereas the female catches fish in the streams through small nets. Collection of different type of edible fruits, roots, honey, turtle eggs etc. also are the main resources of their livelihood.

    The Onges are living in groups with the defined territories for hunting and collecting. They live in communal hut, a permanent type of hut known as BERA and in temporary shelters called KORADE, which are made of bamboo, tree branches and grass. The average size of an Onge family is comprises of three to four members-husband, wife and children.

Since the Onges life is completely based on nature they lead an "easy going life". They eat whatever they hunt and collect. Cooking practice is not observed, mostly they eat the row-collected materials, even the meat and fishes they do not cook but simply put them under fire. The Onges produce all they’re requirements themselves. They make Canoe for themselves from the trees available in nature. Other than this they make wooden buckets, baskets, fiber tussle etc. as all these materials are required for hunting and collecting.

    Now a. considerable change can be observed among the Onges as the government has introduced many development schemes for them. The government has provided quarters and taught them the plantation. As the result they are now living in the houses given by the government and they have started plantation of fruits, roots and tubers.

    The main focus of my study was based on Somatoscopic observation of different physical traits of Onges for which I studied the 60 Onge individual (24 males and 36 females) and collected the Somatoscopic data of different traits such as skin colour, hair, Eye, nose, forehead, ear, chin etc. It is not possible here to described all the data, therefore, simply summarize the main Somatoscopic features based on the data collected from 60 Onge individual which are as follows:



1.Skin colour
3.Hair form
4.Hair texture
5.Hair whorl
6.Forehead breadth
7.Epicanthic fold
8.Forehead shape
9.Eye opening axis
10.Colour of iris
11.Colour of sclera
12.Nasal root
13.Nasal bridge
14. Tip of nose
15. Lips shape
16. Lips size
17. Chin size
18. Chin shape

Dark Brown
Pepper corn
Light brown

    From the mentioned characters the Onges seems near the homogeneity with Negroes of Africa, but detail study of all parameters is required to draw a clear picture and substantial conclusion in this regard.

ISSN: 2249 3433


The word tribe is variously used in literature to denote a community on the basis of homogeneity. Originally many autochthonous communities who were identified by similar culture, social organisation and governance, living away from the main stream life of a country, were mentioned as tribe by their colonial rulers and Western scholars. Many such communities have moved towards the mainstream lifestyle so that they may no longer be identified as secluded, underdeveloped people with queer customs. This has happened to all areas of the world where tribal communities live. Still, many tribal communities lead their lives in very primitive ways devoid of the techno-economic glamour of contemporary civilization. These communities are labeled as "Primitive Tribal Groups". Indian Government has identified such tribal groups to give special attention to their development, whereas in the Indian Constitution all the tribal groups are recognized as "scheduled tribes".


Issues in Vol - 2

No. 1
No. 2
No. 3
No. 4
No. 5
No. 6
No. 7
No. 8
No. 9
No. 10
No. 11
No. 12